How Facebook is Quite Possibly Becoming the Biggest Scam in Marketing and Advertising Ever

972828_10152291318462489_2061300421_nUpdate June 2016: Yes, this article is two years old, but Facebook just announced new huge changes to their algorithm. This article just shows how long this scam has been going on.

I told myself I wasn’t going to write an article like this, but after I came across a few more recent articles confirming that Facebook is, yet again, choking off organic reach – I’ve absolutely had it.

It’s time we face facts – Facebook is no longer a “social media” site.  It’s nothing more than a wannabe Google that’s doing anything it can to make as much money as possible by producing – nothing.  

Think about it, what does Facebook produce?  Nothing.  It was once a website people used to catch up with old friends, share photos, vent about randomness in their lives or check out what news might be going on around the world.

Now Facebook is basically nothing more than a giant billboard that uses its massive amount of users to sell as much space as it possibly can to whatever company will pay.

In your Newsfeed you now get “Suggested Posts,” which are posts that have been paid to be promoted.  Then there are the video advertisements, which almost nobody wants, but Facebook doesn’t care.

Which is funny considering Facebook says it keeps changing its algorithm to “enhance the user experience,” yet continues to places more ads (which users hate), is now using video ads (which almost every user hates) all while choking off “reach” to pages that users “Like” but are no longer seeing because of these algorithm changes.

What’s reach, you ask?  Well, essentially, it’s how many people see a particular post.  And Facebook has massively throttled it in the last few months.  Just over a ago, a page on Facebook might be seen by about 15-20% of those who “Like” it.  Now that number for most pages is down to around 1-5% for many pages.

Again, Facebook claims this is to “enhance the user experience.”  Which is total bullshit.  If Facebook cared about enhancing the user experience it wouldn’t pimp out sponsored ads in Newsfeeds or be rolling out video ads that are almost universally hated by everyone on Facebook.

What Facebook is wanting is for people who run these pages to pay to advertise and “boost” their posts.  And don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to investing money to support a business.  I get how this all works and I understand Facebook is a business that wants to make money.  But there’s just one huge problem – I don’t trust Facebook at all.  In fact, most people don’t.

Their entire advertising ploy is nothing more than a giant scam.

First, Facebook will tell page administrators to pay for ads to “increase your reach.”  Sounds logical enough, right?  Sure.  But there’s just one problem – what’s the point of having more “Likes” if Facebook continues to limit who sees what’s posted on any particular page?

I’ve spent over 3 years building up my page Right Off A Cliff to around 99k followers as I’m typing this.  Presently, only about 1-3% of those who “Like” my page see what’s posted.  Why would I pay, say $1,000 to add another 5,000 followers (just throwing that out there, I’m not sure exactly what the numbers would be) when Facebook is only going to let around 250 of those 5,000 see what I’m posting?

And that’s one big part of what Facebook is selling.  Buy ads, increase your reach!  Except after you spend hundreds, or even thousands “increasing your reach,” Facebook will simply alter their algorithm again and screw you by reducing that very same reach you paid good money to acquire.

But there’s good news!  You can then pay Facebook more money to add more “Likes” to increase your reach!

Essentially, pages are paying Facebook to gain more “Likes,” only to have Facebook later reduce how many of those “Likes” see their content.  They then want you to pay even more money to get more “Likes” – which will undoubtedly be blocked by Facebook at a later date just like before.

See what a scam this is?

Oh, but it gets worse.

You can do what they call “boosting” posts.  Basically they give you an estimated reach, depending on how much you pay, and they claim that’s how many people will see that post.

Sounds like a good deal, right?  Not really.  The costs to “boost” posts are ridiculous and the “estimated reach” is just as laughable.

Take for instance my most recent post.  If I were to “boost” it to an estimated 29,000-76,000 people (Amazing range, isn’t it?  Only about a 50,000 reader difference from lowest to highest) it would cost me $150 – for one post.

Considering I post around 5-6 articles per day, that’s about $750-900 per day to reach most of the people who “Like” my page.  Combine that with the ads they want me to buy, and Facebook essentially wants me to pay around $30,000 per month to advertise and “boost” my posts.

That’s insane.

But now let’s break this scam down even more.

Facebook wants page administrators and businesses to pay to advertise to “increase their reach” (aka get more “Likes”) so that more people see their content.  But then Facebook will later decide to change their algorithm to limit that reach, forcing page administrators and businesses to pay even more to get even more “Likes” to – once again – expand the reach that they already paid perviously to expand, yet had choked off by Facebook.

Oh, but if you want to ensure that your posts are seen by all of your fans, Facebook offers page administrators and businesses the ability to “boost” posts.  For an incredibly large fee page administrators and businesses can boost these posts to those who “Like” these pages (you know, the “Likes” that were paid for through buying ads on Facebook).  Then possibly most of those who “Like” your page might finally see your posts.

So, Facebook is charging pages to get “Likes.”  Then they’re choking off reach to those “Likes” via algorithm changes.  Then they’re charging the same pages even more to “boost” their posts to ensure that the “Likes” that they already paid for are actually seeing their content.

And I’m not even getting into the fact that Facebook offers zero promises or guarantees on anything.  They’re wanting people to give them money, then Facebook is giving you the “data” telling you whether or not what you’re paying for is actually working.

Oh, and they have almost zero customer service.  If you send them an email, you might get a response – a week or two later.  Good luck finding a phone number to get through to a human being for any issues you might experience.

Then let’s look at the stupid way in which Facebook determines “quality content.”  Their belief is that the more content you, the users, interact with (aka “Share” and “Like”) is the ultimate determining factor in determining what you want to see.

Except, what if you’re like me and you don’t “Like” or “Share” much?  What if you read a headline that you don’t “Like?”  Why would a liberal “Like” a headline along the lines of, “Rush Limbaugh Attacks President Obama?”

Someone might read it and really like the article, but you’re not going to “Like” that headline.  So, what this does is it forces pages to go over the top with the headlines.  Which is why you’re seeing more and more websites with headlines like, “Super Horrible Disgusting Limbaugh Hammered by Superman Hero Jon Stewart.”

That might get more people to click “Like.”

This also means that people are essentially going to just be fed “information” that they already agree with.  Because we all know the best way to properly inform a society is to only give people the information that they’re predisposed to agree with.

We also can’t ignore how often Facebook screws up.  There have been times where none of the pages I work with were showing “Share” or “Like” activity.

So, Facebook wants people to pay huge amounts of money to advertise on a website that’s almost constantly plagued by errors.  Then on top of that, they offer essentially no form of customer service to address any issues.

Then we can’t forget Facebook suppression.  What’s that, you ask?  Well, basically Facebook is becoming famous for suppressing certain words or topics that they deem “not quality.”

I’m sure this article will suffer that fate.  After all, Facebook wouldn’t allow an article bashing their massive advertising scam to actually get publicity on their site now, would they?  I’m sure my “Seen By” numbers will be far lower for this article than any other I post in the next 24 hours.

It’s just an absolute joke.  Facebook claims these “algorithm” changes are to better improve the user experience because if they didn’t block certain content the average user would have over 1,500 posts per day flying through their Newsfeed.  Well, luckily Facebook offers a unique tool on all of their posts that allows users to block, hide or unfollow whatever content they don’t want to see.

So, wouldn’t it make more sense to just let every post be seen by the user and let the user determine what they do or don’t want to see?  Makes sense to me.  But then again, that wouldn’t fit into their advertising scam.

And while this is legal, it’s absolutely disgusting.  Facebook can sit there and say all it wants that this is about improving the experience for the user, but the truth is it’s nothing more than a massive scam to extort billions of dollars in ad revenue from page owners and businesses.

Which, for me, it’s not a matter of paying money to advertise – I’m fine with that.  It’s that I don’t trust for one moment that the money I would pay to Facebook would do anything at all for my site.  Because what’s the point of paying for ads, to get more “Likes,” only to have Facebook limit my reach later on – forcing me to pay more?

It’s a con, it’s a scam and I cannot wait for the day when a real alternative to Facebook emerges.  And I get the feeling that I’m not the only one.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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